What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with… I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. (Ecclesiastes 3:9-10, 11-13)
Picking up from our mother’s day manual, here is the second R of our series.
God is an excellent worker. Also tireless, diligent, industrious. But this is not all that He is. For after six days of creating majestic masterpieces we now call and find on earth, he rested. He stopped. The God who does not grow weary (Isaiah 40:28), had no reason to stop because he is God and his strength is just as infinite, but he did because he wants to and values the opportunity to take a step back and enjoy the fruit and beauty of his own toil.
Now as moms we keep saying that we have the toughest job in the world. If this is so, and we aren’t even infinite beings, shouldn’t we also have days off to do just the same? All workers have their weekends, and while this might not be feasible for us as wives, moms, and home makers who have the weekends fuller than everybody else in the world, I think that we can still make it happen.
This comic is hilarious to me. And as all effective comedy, it is funny to me because it carries a hint of truth. Sometimes, all we really need to do as moms is to get away AND do nothing!
Of course there are a dozen ways to get the relaxation we need: massage, staycation, a day soaked in essential oils. But honestly, it could also be just as simple as sleeping in and waking up to a day that has no firm routine or schedule to be followed. For me, that would simply be waking up past 9:00 in the morning, making my own cup of coffee without rushing to prepare breakfast for my family, read whatever I want to read and perhaps slide back into the bed and watch Netflix all day. (Please note than I am not proposing that we leave our entire home to a state of chaos and disarray as we pursue our rest, but to schedule it wisely. Maybe a day where someone comes in to do all your daily duties as mom. Could be your husband, a friend, or your helper if you have one.)
Guilt and God
Now a lot of us moms become guilty at the thought of leaving the home and children on their own. Will they stick to my routine? Will they be fed healthy meals or will they have too much candy? Will they forget prayer time? Will they know which plates to use, what comes after this and that and I think I am going crazy I might as well get up and do it all myself.
You know what Reverend Kevin Deyoung calls this kind of mindset? Kindergarchy. The rule of children. An elder once reminded us young parents to make our homes not to be child-centered, but Jesus-centered. And you know why it is good when we don’t make life everything about our children? Because it also takes a lot of pressure off of them, and in place, they get parents in the home who have more time to engage in a pleasant and more relaxed manner.
“…one of the best things we can do for our kids is to find a way to stop being so frantic and frazzled. In the “Ask the Children” survey, researcher Ellen Galinsky interviewed more than a thousand children in grades three through twelve and asked parents to guess how kids would respond. One key question asked the kids what one thing they would change about the way their parents’ work was affecting them. The results were striking. The kids rarely wished for more time with their parents, but, much to the parents’ surprise, they wished their parents were less tired and less stressed.
“Similarly, Galinsky asked kids to grade their parents in a dozen areas. Overall, parents did pretty well, with both moms and dads right around a B. Most parents got an A when it came to making their children feel important and being able to attend important events in their lives. The biggest weakness, according to the kids, was anger management. More than 40 percent of kids gave their moms and dads a C, D, or F on controlling their temper. It was the worst grade on the children’s parental report card. Our children, Caplan argues, are suffering from “secondhand stress.” By trying to do so much for them, we are actually making our kids less happy. It would be better for us and for our kids if we planned fewer outings, got involved in fewer activities, took more breaks from the kids, did whatever we could to get more help around the house, and made parental sanity a higher priority.”
From Kevin Deyoung’s book Crazy Busy
Need I say more? I know that as parents, we all come from a place of really wanting the best for our kids and homes, but let us also remember that when we continue working on these without breaks and opportunities to rest and to enjoy the fruit of our labor, even our best will soon be laced with high stress — a condition and emotion that is obviously not advisable to foster in our homes and around our children.
- Schedule a phone call with your chosen mommy friend who will do this mother’s day manual with you and ask each other, “What is your dream day-off?”
- Be honest. Have you been neglecting rest? Have you been skipping good sleep, at least a day of not stressing out on anything? Assess yourself and your ability to make rest really happen.
- Seriously relax as you seriously serve! Now, try to find ways of making this happen. Maybe asking a friend to babysit? Talking to husband about regularly making this happen? It really is up to you to make it fit your unique life, but the point is to be intentional about it. We need to schedule even do-nothing days if we really want them to happen!